How This Heartbreaking Conversation With A Stranger Reminded Me Of The Importance Of Listening

"Men have it hard. They're told from a young age to suck it up."

After going to the doctors I remembered I hadn't eaten for a while so I sat in the food court and decided to eat lunch. This lady sitting next to me gave me this beautiful smile and said, "That looks good! What is it?" 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to strike up a conversation with anyone. We started talking and we both confessed to being people who just talk to anyone. We both think friendliness is missing in the world. We talked about how there aren't manners and we are always quick to say "sorry" or "excuse me." We are the ones who people look at weird because we are so chatty. She told me to never change who I am even if I feel disheartened. Her name is Lee.  



You know what is beautiful about talking to strangers? You learn about them, and when you learn about them they teach you something. 

As we got deeper, Lee told me her struggles in life, living where she lives and that her husband committed suicide about 20 years ago. My heart sunk further and further into my stomach as I listened to her talk about her husband. She told me she didn't know why he did it, but just on that day they fought, and ignored each other. On the day of their anniversary, he left a note saying, "Sorry I wasn't good enough. Sorry I was an asshole... Sorry."

She went through stages of blaming herself. Stages of anger, stages of grief, but through all of it, she just missed him so badly. She told me about him with such pride and showed me pictures of him. She called him her soulmate. 

She said life went so fast when he was around, but after he left, time stood still. 

But it's what she said next that struck my heart. 

She said, "Men have it hard. They're told from a young age to suck it up. They're told to provide for their women, and give them everything and that they're not good enough if they don't. They feel the pressure for everything but can't ever talk about how they feel because they're meant to be 'strong.' "

She said, "Talk to your husband, talk to him. Never stop talking. Make him talk. Go on dates, have time together. Get people to help you, but make sure he talks. Never stop talking because you never know when it'll be your last conversation or how much the conversation is needed."

I believe the universe brought us together today, and so did she. I'm glad I met a soul like Lee. 

No matter how hard it is, or how angry we feel, how tired how frustrated how lonely, the best thing we can do is use our voices and listen... (even if it's to a stranger). 

Laura Mazza is a blogger and mother of two. To read more of her work, can follow her on her blog Mum on the Run and on Facebook.  

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